Amazon embarks on ambitious UK growth, the British arm of Internet retailer, is to expand its warehouse space twelvefold by the year 2000, to handle growing online book, music and video sales.

Amazon, which operates only one UK warehouse, a 40,000 sq ft site in Slough, Berkshire, has leased two giant units in Bedfordshire to handle the bulk of stocking and packing operations by the end of the year. The sites at Marston Gate, near Milton Keynes, will have a combined floor space of 728,000 sq ft . managing director Simon Murdoch says: “Internet shopping is really taking off in the UK. With this increased capacity, we can stock and ship a wider selection of books and get them out even quicker.”

The company, which claims to be the largest UK-based Internet retailer of books, music and videos, refuses to give details on individual regional operations. However, the UK arm is understood to account for about half the company’s recorded European sales, which were &£16m for the last quarter.

The new warehouses are being built by developer Prologis Kingspark and are expected to house the company’s UK head office, currently in Slough., which will not divulge how many employees it has, has yet to decide what will happen to its current head office site.

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